Thursday, July 2, 2015

25 S’wak MP’s must back 20 per cent oil royalty demand


 | July 2, 2015
20 per cent petroleum royalty would help remedy the embarrassing reality that Sarawak remains among the poorest in Malaysia, says Batu Lintang state assemblyman See Chee How.
See Chee How
KUCHING: The Opposition in Sarawak has urged the 25 BN MPs in the state to join forces with it and MPs in Sabah, Terengganu and Kelantan to demand that their states be given 20 per cent oil royalty. “The BN MPs in Sarawak must make their stand clear, to fully back the state’s demand for 20 per cent petroleum royalty.”
“The Federal Government was snubbing this demand from Sarawak because they command the full support of the 25 BN MPs from the state.”
Batu Lintang state assemblyman See Chee How added that “20 per cent petroleum royalty would help remedy the embarrassing and ironic reality that these states remain the poorest in Malaysia”.
He expressed disappointment with the attitude of the BN MPs in Sarawak. “Their defiance of the Chief Minister was a matter for the State BN to deal with, but all Sarawakians are seeing this as a show of lack of allegiance to the state and lack of commitment to stand up for the state’s interests.”
There’s a need to ensure more equitable and just development and fairer distribution of wealth between Sarawak and the peninsula and the other states as well, he argued.
See reiterated that BN MPs in Sarawak show where their loyalty lies. “All Sarawakians, with one voice, must demand oil justice.”
See, who is also PKR Sarawak Vice-Chairman, was commenting on an announcement that Petronas would give RM90 million in CSR (corporate social responsibility) to Sarawak.
“Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and the Federal Government should stop thinking that they can pacify Sarawak with provisional handouts,” warned See. “The RM90 million CSR contributions was equivalent to only 1.2 per cent of the 20 per cent petroleum royalty that Sarawak has demanded from the Federal Government.”
“We want a firm commitment and disbursement from the Federal Government to deliver the 20 per cent oil and gas royalty to Sarawak and the other oil producing states.”
On May 6 last year, he reminded, the Sarawak Assembly unanimously voted in favour of a motion to demand for an increase in the oil royalty from 5 per cent to 20 per cent.
The Najib administration, reiterated See, had continued to ignore Sarawak’s demand for oil justice because the 25 BN MPs from Sarawak have not made their stance in line with Sarawak Assembly motion.
In fact, he lamented, they have been keeping quiet and had not expressed their support when Chief Minister Adenan Satem issued numerous public statements pushing for the 20 per cent oil and gas royalty for Sarawak.
~ Free Malaysia Today

RM63 million in Mara’s fourth Aussie property undeclared, says Rafizi

BY RAM ANAND

Majlis Amanah Rakyat investment arm, Mara Inc, reportedly declared a higher purchase price for a fourth property in Melbourne despite paying RM63 million less for it. – The Malaysian Insider pic, July 2, 2015.


Majlis Amanah Rakyat investment arm, Mara Inc, reportedly declared a higher purchase price for a fourth property in Melbourne despite paying RM63 million less for it. – The Malaysian Insider pic, July 2, 2015.





















Majlis Amanah Rakyat's (Mara) investment arm, Mara Inc, declared a higher purchase price in its official briefings for a fourth Australian property in Melbourne, despite paying RM63 million less for it, the National Oversight and Whistleblowers (NOW) said today.
Its director Rafizi Ramli (pic, left) said that Mara had briefed its leaders about the purchase for 746 Swanston Street being at RM138 million, but in actuality, it only paid around RM75 million for the property.
Rafizi said this was based on official Mara briefings held in Melbourne in May last year, compared to a sales listing in an Australian website for the said property in 2012, when the purchase was made.
 "It is highly likely that this amount was graft because all the money that was approved by Mara was not used to purchase the property," Rafizi said in a press conference.
NOW previously said that Mara Inc had also paid above market rates to purchase two other Melbourne properties from an unknown company.
The purchase was approved by Mara in August 2012 and finalised in November 2012, Rafizi said.
Mara had made the purchase for 281 units in the building, with several other units owned by individual owners.
Rafizi said that the public should know where the extra RM63 million approved by Mara had gone, if not towards the purchase.
"Where did this money go to and who is it that profited from this property scheme?" he asked.
He said that the current valuation for the property stood at only RM77 million with the current exchange rate, and Mara would lose RM62 million of the approved amount if it decided to sell it off.
Mara's Australian property purchases was first highlighted by Australian paper The Age, which said several senior officials had pocketed kickbacks after inflating the property price. – July 2, 2015.
- See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/rm63-million-in-maras-fourth-aussie-property-undeclared-says-rafizi#sthash.mofHFcsO.dpuf

PAC to receive 1MDB interim audit report from AG next week

BY KC NAZARI

Public Accounts Committee chairman Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamad says it is up to the government auditor if he wants to reveal the contents of the interim 1MDB audit report to the public. – The Malaysian Insider pic, July 2, 2015.
























Public Accounts Committee chairman Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamad says it is up to the government auditor if he wants to reveal the contents of the interim 1MDB audit report to the public. – The Malaysian Insider pic, July 2, 2015.




The Public Accounts Commitee (PAC) will receive the interim report on the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) audit on July 9 from the Auditor-General (AG), Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamad said today.
The PAC chairman said the AG will also brief PAC on the audit it had carried out on the debt-ridden strategic investor.
"There will be a formal explanation on the report. PAC will have a question and answer session with the AG and his team about the scope of their investigation and whether they were given cooperation by those they had investigated," he told The Malaysian Insider.
However, the Pulai MP said, the decision to make the interim report public is the AG's prerogative.
"The AG report is his property. He is the one who decides to make it public or not. PAC just considers their findings for our own report," Nur Jazlan said.
DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang yesterday asked the AG where was the interim report on 1MDB which was supposed to have been completed by the end of June.
In a statement, Lim said that the report was "still being awaited" despite it being July, adding that Auditor-General Tan Sri Ambrin Buang said the report should be ready by the end of June.
He also criticised the decision not to make the interim report public and instead only to make it available to members of the PAC, who are conducting their own investigation into 1MDB.
Lim said this "destroys the original rationale" of asking the AG to vet the debt-ridden state investment fund's accounts.
"Although this is only the AG’s interim report on the 1MDB, and that there will be a final report, there is no good enough reason why the interim report should be withheld from the public or MPs who are not on the PAC," Lim said.
"If Najib is not prepared to ensure that the Auditor-General’s interim report on 1MDB is immediately made available to the public, he can junk all the slogans about ‘Nothing2Hide’," he said.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak instructed the AG to audit 1MDB after controversies over its dealings, which led it to rack up RM42 billion in debts in just six years since its inception.
Najib is also chairman of the 1MDB advisory board. – July 2, 2015.
- See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/pac-to-receive-1mdb-interim-audit-report-from-ag-next-week#sthash.asbqLY5o.dpuf

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

NOW claims Mara overpaid for another property

12:46PM Jul 1, 2015
By Koh Jun Lin
National Oversight and Whistleblowers (NOW) has accused Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara) of having acquired a third property in Melbourne at an inflated price.

This, said NOW, further lends credence to claims that those behind the deal had committed criminal breach of trust (CBT).

At a press conference today, NOW director Akmal Nasir said the Quintessential Group of Companies (QGC) had sold the property at 51, Queen Street, to an unnamed party in 2013.

QGC had bought the property at A$8.2 million in 2010 and sold it for A$16.65 million (RM48.14 million) in January 2013, after renovations.

This was documented on QGC's website, except for the date of the transaction, which Akmal said was based on unofficial sources.

He said NOW had sighted leaked documents from Mara that showed the Mara Council had approved the purchase of the property on Feb 21, 2013. The property was formally acquired on March 29 that year at A$22 million (RM66.61 million).

Copies of the relevant page from the document had been distributed to the press during NOW's press conference yesterday.

'This means an overpayment of RM15.5 million'

This means that A$5.35 million (RM15.47 million) was "overpaid", said Akmal.

Therefore, the total alleged overpayment by Mara to acquire Dudley International House, 51, Queen Street, and 333, Exhibition Street by Mara amounted to AUD19.1 million (RM55.22 million), or RM66.2 million based on exchange rates at the time, he said.

"Based on the evidence exposed so far, it shows that there is a systematic modus operandi and NOW is convinced that there are elements of criminal breach of trust.

"The police and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) should cease any form of dilly-dallying and expedite investigations on this issue, in line with Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's commitment that a thorough investigation is being done," he said.

Akmal urged Mara chairperson Annuar Musa (photo) to answer whether another of Mara's property, at 746, Swanston Street, Melbourne, was also bought at above market price.

[More to follow]
~ Malaysiakini

The Edge questions 1MDB’s claim of ready buyers for Air Itam, Pulau Indah land

Published: 1 July 2015 10:09 AM
1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) says it has received ‘significant expressions of interest’ in its Air Itam and Pulau Indah land parcels. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, July 1, 2015.

1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) says it has received ‘significant expressions of interest’ in its Air Itam and Pulau Indah land parcels. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, July 1, 2015.
Just hours ahead of Fitch Ratings’ announcement on its sovereign ratings review on Malaysia, 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) president Arul Kanda Kandasamy said he was “pleased to update that [1MDB] has received significant expressions of interest in [its Air Itam and Pulau Indah] land parcels”.
“Accordingly, 1MDB intends to appoint an independent real estate consultant to assist in reviewing the various proposals. A further announcement providing an update on the progress will be made within the next two weeks,” his June 30 statement headlined “monetisation of Air Itam and Pulau Indah land” read.
Has 1MDB received actual proposals to buy the Air Itam and Pulau Indah land or is 1MDB merely saying it will name the independent consultant within a fortnight? Is 1MDB saying buyers for the Air Itam and Pulau Indah land will be named within two weeks?
Otherwise, can anyone be blamed for thinking that the statement sounds all too similar to the one made by Lembaga Tabung Haji chairman Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim on the ready buyers available for the pilgrims’ fund’s controversial RM188.5 million purchase of the 0.63ha Signature Tower land in the Tun Razak Exchange (TRX)?
Did Abdul Azeez not say Tabung Haji was expected to make at least RM5 million in profits when the land sale completed as early as end-May? It is now July. The last we checked, a buyer has not been named.
Will seasoned analysts and investors take the statement seriously, with only 1MDB’s word backing its exuberance? If indeed 1MDB is eager to monetise the “significant expressions of interest” on the Air Itam and Pulau Indah land, surely it would have already hired a consultant to evaluate them? Why not at least announce the name of this consultant to lend credence to its statement?
This is needed because unlike the token sums it paid for TRX and Bandar Malaysia land, 1MDB paid RM1.056 billion to buy majority interest in the 234-acre (94.7ha) encumbered land in Air Itam, Penang between April and September 2013 from private owners, including those associated with prominent Penang tycoon Tan Sri Lim Gait Tong.
According to a land search done by The Edge on the five largest Air Itam plots on May 6, 2015, 1MDB owns 85.7% of Gerak Indera Sdn Bhd, Farlim Properties Sdn Bhd and 1MDB RE (Ayer Itam) Sdn Bhd, with minorities holding the balance.
More importantly, has 1MDB managed to work out a settlement agreement with the ground tenants of the Air Itam land? These ground tenants have to approve the development plans. It is estimated that the Air Itam plots are occupied by houses and workshops with 1,200 to 1,400 dwellings with water, electricity and postal addresses. Assuming a settlement cost of RM90,000 apiece, compensation to some 1,200 ground tenants would work out to RM108 million.
Would any third party want to jump into the fray if there is no assurance of a settlement with these ground tenants who are not mere squatters? Will the bulk of the Air Itam land still be earmarked for building 6,666 units of low-cost flats and 3,333 units of affordable homes – a plan which The Edge has shown to be mathematically impossible for 1MDB to make money from unless it sells properties at very high prices there?
As for the 310-acre Pulau Indah land, it was only on December 16, 2014 that 1MDB agreed to pay a revised price of RM294.378 million (RM21.80 per sq ft) to buy the land from Tadmax Resources. The sale was supposed to be completed yesterday, according to Tadmax’s Dec 16, 2014 statement. At the time of writing, there was no update on whether the deal has been completed.
In a separate statement yesterday, 1MDB said its plan to seek partners to develop Bandar Malaysia, intention to appoint consultants to help review interests received for its Pulau Indah and Air Itam land, and the various options it is pursuing in respect of monetising Edra Global Energy Bhd, “will allow [it] to reduce 1MDB’s debt significantly and ensure that maximum value is generated for its 100% ultimate shareholder, the government of Malaysia”.
1MDB also said the signing of a definitive agreement with International Petroleum Investment Co (IPIC) – which is also still pending – “will ultimately result in a debt reduction of approximately RM16 billion”.
Supporters of 1MDB have been eager to highlight that RM16 billion is 38% of 1MDB’s RM42 billion debt as at end-March 2014.
Professionals, however, know that a comparison of the RM16 billion is only meaningful if one knows the impact of the IPIC deal to 1MDB’s asset base and what 1MDB’s latest debt figure is. In short, the seasoned investors will need proof, not just words. These are people who will likely determine the direction of money flows.
They’re also likely to be asking: why so secretive about what assets 1MDB is transferring to IPIC, Arul? – The Edge Financial Daily, July 1, 2015.
- See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/the-edge-questions-1mdbs-claim-of-ready-buyers-for-air-itam-pulau-indah-lan#sthash.1isztYSM.dpuf

Bible Society stands its ground, ROS backs off

7:59AM Jul 1, 2015
By Bob Teoh
COMMENT The Registry of Societies (ROS) beat a hasty retreat and called off its “routine inspection” of the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM) yesterday, after the society asked ROS for reasons for its unprecedented visit.

However, the ROS Selangor branch went ahead with its inspection of the Menopause Society of Malaysia nearby, with its officers present giving a different reason for their visit, which was warmly received.

BSM secretary Rev Matthew K Punnoose issued a statement to the media gathered at his office in Petaling Jaya yesterday afternoon.

Punnoose said the BSM office received a call from the ROS in the morning informing it that the “inspection” has been postponed indefinitely. No reason was given for the postponement.

The Bible Society challenged the grounds for the inspection and said there is no such thing as a “routine inspection” under Clause 63 of the Societies Act 1966, which ROS cited for its intended visit.

According to Punnoose (photo), BSM received an email notice last Tuesday from the ROS Selangor branch (issued by one Norashuhada Mohd Razali, an administrative assistant in charge of clerical duties and operations).

The notice was also issued to Pertubuhan Penganut Dewa Xian Lian Gong, just down the road from the Bible Society and the Subang Rotary Club, which shares the same address as the Menopause Society.

BSM read the notice as targeting it, since three hours were allotted for the ROS visit to its premises, while the other three visit were to take just an hour each.

The other three societies were not told to prepare any documents for inspection whereas the BSM was told to get ready its accounts, minutes, membership register and “other documents” for inspection.

However, ROS brushed its email to BSM aside, saying there was nothing sinister as its call on the society was meant to be a “routine” inspection.

Society aided on online ROS reporting system

Meanwhile, an official of the Menopause Society said the ROS officials were very helpful and the purpose of the inspection was to assist them to use the new online reporting system that ROS has introduced.

If this was the case, then the ROS need not have relied on Clause 63 of the Societies Act. It could not possibly pay individual visits to the hundreds of thousands of registered societies just to teach them how to use their new online system, BSM said.

The purpose could be better served by having a series of training sessions for numerous societies at one go.

There are provisions under the Act for record updates and report submissions. For instance.  Clause 14 requires every registered society to file its returns within 60 days of holding its annual general meeting and to submit further records as the registrar may require.

However, there is no need for “routine inspection” as these are merely housekeeping rules that the registrar can easily manage, through email or letters. There is also no provision for a “routine inspection” on a registered society.

It is therefore curious why the ROS is relying on Clause 63 to enter the Bible Society premises, since this clause does not provide for “routine inspection”, Punnoose pointed out.

This clause is to allow ROS enter the premises of societies suspected of unlawful activities, he said.

The construction of Clause 63 is clear: if the ROS has “reason to believe that any society is carrying on activities in contravention of any provision of this Act”, it can, after giving notice to any office-bearer, enter into any place...

ROS empowered to use force in entry

Clause 64 further gives ROS the power to enter, search and make seizures if the registrar reason to believe that any registered society is being used for purposes prejudicial to public peace, welfare, good order or morality in Malaysia. If need be, ROS may use force for such entry.

“BSM knows that it is not carrying on any activity in contravention of the Societies Act or any regulation or rules as the object of the Bible Society has always been to provide and make available the Bible in various languages,” Punnoose said.

There are two plausible reasons why the ROS is acting so strangely, he said. One is that the junior officer who issued the email may have made a mistake between Clauses 14 and 63. If so, then this can be easily resolved.

However, if no mistake was made, then the ROS action against BSM smacks of sinister motives, even mischief. If so BSM did the right thing by calling the ROS bluff and standing its ground.

Be that as it may, whatever the ROS wants to do it must make sure it acts within the framework of the law. More so now that the Bible Society of Malaysia is helmed by none other than the straight-talking Anglican Bishop Rev Ng Moon Hing, who broods no nonsense and is known to have taken on the establishment without fear or favour.

Ng is abroad now, has told the BSM council go ahead and take make any appropriate decision.

Those familiar with the matter have said that one of the options advised by the BSM lawyers is not to allow the ROS officers to enter its premises unless they have valid reasons.

Mere suspicions would not do, especially if the ROS was not going to rely on Cause 64 of the Act, under which it can use force to gain entry. In the month of Ramadan, BSM hopes that cool heads will prevail.



BOB TEOH is a faith-based writer, an associate in theology with a diploma in Christian Ministry from Perth Bible College, Western Australia. He is a regular contributor to Malaysiakini.
 
~ Malaysiakini

Would another raid turn Christians against BN?

8:13AM Jul 1, 2015
By Stephen Ng
COMMENT Not even two years have passed by and now the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM) is again facing the possibility of another raid.

This time, it is by a federal agency using Section 63 of the Societies Act 1966, which, under normal circumstances, the Registrar of Societies (ROS) would not use.

A member of the Bible Society who spoke on condition of anonymity said that for the past 23 years, the society has always been up-to-date with its submission to the ROS.

“If there are any documents that the registrar would like the society to furnish, the staff would be more than happy to comply,” she said, dismissing that there could be any proselytisation work done by the society.

No basis

In the first place, it has never been the role of the Bible Society to carry out any proselytisation work.

Therefore, the raid carried out last year by the Selangor Islamic Affairs Department (Jais) under the instruction of the Selangor Islamic Affairs Council (Mais) chaired by an alleged Umno strongman, was totally uncalled for and a sign of clear disrespect to the Christian community.

Thanks to Selangor Menteri Besar Azmin Ali, when the Bibles were subsequently returned, Mais requested that the Bibles be sent to Sabah, instead of going back to their rightful owners - the Bible Society.

During the raid, the Iban Bibles were also confiscated by Jais officers, which clearly showed the lack of sincerity by the parties concerned which claimed that the use of the name ‘Allah’ in the Malay and Iban Bibles was an attempt by the Christian community to weaken the aqidah (faith) of the Muslims.

Till now, no one has answered my questions: “How many Malay Muslims in peninsular Malaysia can read Bup Kudus in the Iban language? And, lying in the warehouse, when the Alkitab were being carted away, were they used in any proselytisation work or found in the hands of any Muslim?”

The Bible Society is there mainly to supply Bibles in different languages to the Christian community, and if the Alkitab is the main issue now why the ROS is using Section 63, then is Bahasa Malaysia after all the national language?

Within the scope of Article 11 of the federal constitution, the Christian community has “the right to profess and practice his religion and, subject to Clause (4), to propagate it.”

Article 11 further states that every religious group has the right to manage its own religious affairs. In short, the Christians, like any other communities, want to exercise their faith with some peace of mind; and there should not be any interference from any party over the question of God’s name.

To use Section 63 is therefore excessive in the eyes of most people. The Christian community also question the timing of the visit by ROS, especially at a time when there is so much focus on religious persecution in Malaysia, both in local and international media.

Contrary to the constitution

Although the visit yesterday was postponed indefinitely, the idea of placing churches and other religious organisations directly under the supervision of the ROS runs contrary to the spirit of the federal constitution.

Article 11 safeguards the non-Muslims’ rights to ‘establish and maintain institutions for religious or charitable purposes’.

Why is it not possible for the government to allow a recognised body such as the Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM), for example, to register the churches and govern its own religious affairs?

Placing the churches and other religious organisations under the ROS could lead to abuses now and in the future, especially when they are officers who do not share the same faith, giving the perception that there is religious persecution in the country.

I am sure that yesterday’s episode was being watched closely by international groups as well as the church at large, both domestic and abroad.

BN’s stake at risk

This raises the question why cabinet minister Joseph Kurup is so eager in explaining, instead of shooting down the Home Ministry’s latest standard operating procedure (SOP) which allows the Quranic Text Division of the Home Ministry to supervise the import of the Alkitab into peninsular Malaysia.

Kurup (photo) is supposed to be a native Christian from Sabah, but once implemented, he risks losing the respect of the Christian community in both east and peninsular Malaysia for failing to make a stand.

Confidence in both Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and especially Home Minister Zahid Hamidi would dip the lowest within the Christian community. Najib has failed to be the prime minister for all Malaysians, while Zahid will no longer enjoy the people’s trust.

The entire Barisan Nasional will suffer the backlash as well since they are connected with both Najib, Zahid and Kurup.

As the Johor Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim has warned: “There is no point having authority if you cannot influence the people. If you have authority but command no influence, it is a sign that you are not worthy of being a leader.”



STEPHEN NG is an ordinary citizen with an avid interest in following political developments in the country since 2008.
 
~ Malaysiakini

BTN is inconsistent with 1Malaysia

11:15AM Jul 1, 2015
By Kua Kia Soong
COMMENT It is shocking to see the vain attempts to justify the existence of the National Civics Bureau (BTN) after the expose of its racist indoctrination programmes in 2009. This has been documented for posterity in my latest publication ‘Racism & Racial Discrimination in Malaysia’, Suaram 2015: 261-3.

For years under the New Economic Policy (NEP), Malay students and civil servants have had to go through ‘orientation’ sessions by the BTN, an agency of the Malaysian government under the Prime Minister’s Department).

BTN was established in 1974 with the stated objective of: “To nurture the spirit of patriotism and commitment to excellence among Malaysians, and train leaders and future leaders to support the nation's development efforts”.

It is an open secret that BTN's programmes have been explicitly promoting Ketuanan Melayu (Malay dominance) and are unabashedly partisan to the governing Barisan Nasional. In late 2009, many allegations of racism and political propaganda surfaced in the online press.

Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad (photo), assemblyperson for Seri Setia in the state legislative assembly of Selangor, claimed that the BTN camp he attended was “racial and political in nature”, with trainers telling attendees that Malays require affirmative action and criticising the opposition Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) as “deviationist”. (The Malaysian Insider, Nov 21, 2009)

Amirudin Shari, assemblyperson for Batu Caves, claimed that “participants are indoctrinated with propaganda about ‘Ketuanan Melayu’ and external threats”. (ibid) Another participant claimed he was taught that the Chinese were “the Jews of Asia”, and part of a conspiracy to topple the government. (ibid, Nov 27, 2009)

Any denial of allegations against BTN is futile

Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin quickly came to the defence of BTN, saying its programmes inculcate nationalism and unity among Malaysians in line with the prime minister’s 1Malaysia concept.

However, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nazri Aziz told the press that the cabinet had ordered a revamp of BTN courses to eliminate elements inconsistent with 1Malaysia. He criticised the attempt to deny the allegations against BTN, saying that this was futile since “...opposition members who had previously been in government such as Leader of the Opposition Anwar Ibrahim know, so what is there to deny?”

He added that BTN had been used to promote certain political leaders. (TMI, Dec 1, 2009)

‘Bloody racist’

Former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad decided to enter the fray by defending BTN as an institution intended to inculcate the values of discipline and hard work in public servants and scholars.

However, this soon led to an unprecedented open shouting match between two Umno stalwarts. In an attempt to back the prime minister’s ‘1Malaysia’ caper, Nazri (photo) called Mahathir’s statement “bloody racist”, criticising the former prime minister and Utusan Malaysia for denying the allegations against BTN.

“Don’t think that people outside do not know about the syllabus based on patriotism for Malays... They know what the syllabus is all about so who are we to say that it did not happen? You want to lie? You make people laugh. I mean there are people who attended the courses who came out very angry.

“There were many instances of the use of words like ‘Ketuanan Melayu’. It is ridiculous... Do they want to say that Malaysia belongs only to the Malays and the government is only a Malay government? Should only the Malays be given the spirit of patriotism? Other races are not patriotic about their country?” he said. (TMI, Dec 7, 2009)

‘He belongs to a party which is racist...’

In his response, Mahathir wittingly or unwittingly exposed the racist nature of Umno when he accused Nazri of hypocrisy, saying: “I must be a racist if Nazri says I am racist. Don’t ever say that I am not. He knows everything. He belongs to a party which is racist... which is Umno...

“Umno is a party perkauman [racist party] and is meant only for Malays and nobody [else] can join. So he (Nazri) is in a racist party but says he is against racism. So he should resign from the party.”

This altercation between two Umno stalwarts has enabled us to document this undeniable fact of racist indoctrination of Malay students and civil servants in the state institutions since the seventies and clarified Umno’s role as a racist party.

Eradicate racism and racial discrimination

If the prime minister is serious about creating 1Malaysia, racism and racial discrimination present the most serious obstacle to the nation’s progress and peoples’ solidarity. Minorities continue to be derided as ‘immigrants’ by the ruling party and far-right Malay supremacist groups in order to justify the racial discriminatory policies in favour of ‘bumiputeras’.

Racism and racial discrimination has been a convenient method of winning bumiputera votes even though this is anathema to modern-day standards of governance.

Forge ‘1Malaysia’ through greater democracy

The road toward ‘1Malaysia’ is through a concerted effort for greater democracy not only in the political realm but also in economic, educational, social and cultural policies. The basis of unity rests fundamentally on the recognition of the equality of all nationalities. The imposition of one language and one culture on all the communities will produce only a hollow unity.

The basis for unity among the masses has also to embody a commitment to democracy and policies that will improve the living standards of the workers and farmers and at the same time unite them. These components involve the lifting of restrictions on legitimate political organisation and activity, as well as the encouragement of social and political institutions that ensure genuine popular control.



DR KUA KIA SOONG is Suaram adviser.

~ Malaysiakini